Sat, 16 Sep 2000

Blast investigation aims at elements within TNI

JAKARTA (JP): Attorney General Marzuki Darusman said the investigation into Wednesday's blast at the Jakarta Stock Exchange building now was aimed at elements within the Indonesian Military.

Marzuki asserted that only the military had the resources to carry out the bombing. "Only they have the training to do that," he said as quoted by Antara news agency.

President Abdurrahman Wahid has instructed Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Adm. Widodo A.S. to assist police in investigating the bombing.

Marzuki noted that based on the type of equipment used in the bombing it was clear which parties should be investigated.

"So really the area or place in which the answers should be searched for can already be narrowed down," he said, adding that "there is a view (the investigations should be) directed toward the TNI".

The 34-story Jakarta Stock Exchange building was rocked by a powerful explosion on Wednesday which left at least 10 people dead and dozens others injured. Police have said as many as 15 people died in the blast, though they have not identified all of the victims.

A police forensics team has said the blast was caused by a bomb containing over one kilogram of TNT, the highly flammable toxic compound trinitrotoluene. The blast left a 60-centimeter hole on the second level of the building's basement parking lot.

Another one-square-meter hole was found on the first floor of the parking lot.

Marzuki said if evidence was found linking elements within TNI to the bombing and the investigation was then halted, then there was something wrong within the TNI.

"If there is something wrong within the ranks of the military, then the reforms will cease," he remarked.

When asked if he believed there was a connection between the blast and former president Soeharto's trial, the second session of which was due to be held on Thursday, the day after the bombing, Marzuki acknowledged a "coincidence" but refused to speculate.

"We don't want to place a correlation (between the events) or confirm a correlation," he said.

At the Jakarta Stock Exchange building on Friday, the owners of vehicles damaged in the explosion were allowed to claim their cars after showing the necessary vehicle registration documents.

The cleanup of the parking lot also began on Friday, with workers using flashlights as they cleared the debris. Some parts of the basement parking lot remain inundated with water.

Relatives of victims of the bombing came to the building to lay flowers in remembrance of their loved ones.

Police said at least nine people had been questioned in connection to the incident, adding that the questioning focused on gathering information about the bombing.

Jakarta Police chief of detectives Sr. Supt. Hari Montolalu said a total of 26 witnesses were due to be questioned, including those injured in the blast. (mds)